President Biden’s top military adviser tells China the United States is willing to resume military communications that Beijing suspended last year to protest then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan .
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. told reporters Friday that restoring military dialogue between two of the world’s most powerful militaries is a goal of the Biden administration, and that he had sent a letter to his Chinese counterpart, General Liu Zhenli, “to say that I would like to do this.”
“We’ll see how this all plays out,” General Brown said. “I have good hope.”
The letter comes ahead of a meeting between President Biden and China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next week. U.S. officials hope the two leaders will announce a resumption of military dialogue there.
General Brown, who is visiting the region this week, said reopening the communications channel was important to avoid misunderstandings that could escalate into crises. “For me, it is extremely important to make sure that there are no miscalculations in this dialogue,” he said during a briefing with journalists.
A Pentagon report last month said China was continuing to develop its strategic nuclear arsenal and had most likely accumulated 500 nuclear warheads as of May, an increase of about 100 from last year’s estimate.
The report accuses China’s military of taking increasingly dangerous steps to deter U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region, including what the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command called “coercive and risky” maneuvers. in the skies over the South China Sea, intended to intimidate American military aircraft. .
China’s military is in the midst of political upheaval: Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu was fired last month in the latest purge in Beijing’s national security ranks. There has been speculation among military analysts that General Brown’s counterpart, General Liu, could become the country’s next defense minister.